Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Cross "Equation" With a Built-in Power Pack

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The cross "equation" comes with a built-in power pack: "The love of Christ constrains [motivates] us" (2 Cor. 5:14). Therefore, following our Lord is no longer forcing ourselves to try to do what is right, punishing ourselves, pushing ourselves against our will to do what we don't want to do in order to get to heaven or to avoid being lost.

No one who has seen Christ crucified, and who believes what he sees, can again be plagued with those vague feelings of remorse and self-hate for doing what he knows he shouldn't. The nagging sense of "ought," like low-hanging clouds shadowing the soul, is lifted. While it might be wrong to say that it becomes easy to do right (following Christ is never coasting downhill), it is true that the love of Christ seen and believed is a power plant that propels one on the upward path. Temptation obstacles flatten out before the power of this new "constraint." Decisions that have been agonizingly difficult for us become simple when Paul's equation is remembered: One died for me, otherwise I wouldn't be here at this moment. How can my life be my own? Christ's love has bought me. How can I possibly withhold myself from Him?

The lapse of 2,000 years since Paul's day makes no difference in the power of the equation. None of the tempting allurements we face today can in any way stand up against it. Even if the devil had another thousand years to invent more subtle temptations to ensnare us, this simple truth we "see" at Calvary would nullify them all because it shorts out the circuit of our self-centeredness.

This is how the cross shifts the focus of our viewpoint. In fact, vision just begins when our self-centered complex is overcome. We can begin to look at things through the eyes of Christ. We are able to perceive something impossible to see otherwise. It is this:

He has a need today that is greater than at any time in the past since the Father entrusted Him to us. Jesus is still hungry; and the hunger He knows is the unsatisfied, unrequited love of a Bridegroom hungering for His bride to yield Him her wholehearted, entire love. We are enabled to sense that He deserves a reward, not we! He deserves a human-heart response to the "travail of His soul" that has not as yet been yielded Him.

With respect to His bride-to-be, Christ endures disappointment beyond description because of our human indifference. Are we hiding ourselves from Him, making Him sad and disappointed? Must it ever be so? Where is our heart response worthy of His love? Would it not be the cruelty of the ages for us to continue holding Him at a distance, keeping Him waiting, unsatisfied, divinely hungry?

What can we say to Him? Is there some word of appreciation? "Master, … !

--Robert J. Wieland

From: The Backward Prayer, 2001.
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